David Reviews: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

David, from The Scary Reviews, and I both read horror and science fiction. But somehow, we hardly ever manage to read the same books. It’s something we joke about often on Twitter. David, for example, reads Stephen King.  Because of this, I’ve asked him do a couple of reviews for Sci-Fi & Scary.  The first one is Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Book cover for Dark Matter by Blake Crouch“Are you happy with your life?”

Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious.

Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits.

Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.”

In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible.

Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.

From the author of the bestselling Wayward Pines trilogy, Dark Matter is a brilliantly plotted tale that is at once sweeping and intimate, mind-bendingly strange and profoundly human—a relentlessly surprising science-fiction thriller about choices, paths not taken, and how far we’ll go to claim the lives we dream of. – Goodreads

Dark Matter Review

Dark Matter is a book that’s not easy for me to review. Not because I didn’t like it, I did very much. The challenge comes because there is a fine line between saying too little and saying too much. So I’ll keep it brief with the following introduction. Our protagonist, Jason Dressen, is on his way home from visiting an old friend at a bar. His friend, Ryan, is celebrating a recent award. Jason promised his wife he would be back home in an hour for dinner. While walking home Jason is abducted by a man wearing a mask. After waking up everything is a blur.

What would you do if you woke up and were told fourteen months have passed? Everyone is glad you made it back, but you have no idea what they’re talking about. Where do they think you were and is your family safe? This is the new reality for Jason Dressen. He has, or maybe had, a comfortable life as a physics professor at a college, a wife, and teenage son. Now he can’t be sure what is real or what is just in his imagination.

Dark Matter quickly plunges us into the story leaving us a dozen questions. I was instantly drawn to Jason as he struggles to figure out what happened. This was my first trip into the world of Blake Crouch and Dark Matter was an engaging and consuming read. The disorientation felt by the protagonist bleeds through the pages. It’s strong enough to touch and feel. Jason gets a few clues as to what happened to the hole in his memory. The pieces started to form a picture and I almost fell out of my chair.

The real science and science fiction elements are very well balanced. The story had me guessing how it would end, and if Jason would make it home to his family. There are many points along the way where I was sure I had a handle on the direction the story was going. Each time I was close the story took a sharp turn and Blake Crouch up’s the tension. Dark Matter gives you characters you will love and a protagonist you will root for.

As much as I wish I could say more I don’t want to give anything away. This is a book I’ve seen get rave reviews, many from authors and reviewers I follow. Many felt similar as I do, that this is a great read. Dark Matter will fulfill your needs for science fiction, mystery, and thrills. You’d be remiss not to pick it up and give it a read. Just be sure to set aside a large block of time. This is a story you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it. Dark Matter leaves you thinking about your life choices and your place in the world.

Dark Matter

Title: Dark Matter | Author: Blake Crouch (site) | Publisher: Crown | Pub. Date: 2016-7-26 | Pages: 342 | ISBN13: 9781101904220 | Genre: Science Fiction & Mystery | Language: English | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration | Purchase on Amazon.


9 thoughts on “David Reviews: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

  1. Fredric Brown did a humorous take on a similar idea in his 1948 “What Mad Universe,” in which a man blacks out, only to wake up in a world where he’s not his old self. Unlike “Dark Matter,” there is another version of himself out there, and Brown plays it for laughs at the expense of the pulp fiction conventions of that era. Still, the plot is about the protagonist trying to get back to his old life.

      1. A quick look at amazon shows most editions running around 200 pages, available for Kindle and audio. I remember it being a quick read; Brown wasn’t a writer inclined to long stories.

  2. This was one of my fav 2016 reads – know exactly what you mean about the fine line between saying too little or too much about this book.

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